The Richmond Museum of History is opening an exhibit Tuesday about the history of the Chevron refinery in commemoration of facility's 110th anniversary.
The refinery on the Richmond shoreline, which predates the 1905 founding of Richmond, is located about 3.5 miles from El Cerrito's western border and has had a deep involvement not only with its host city of Richmond but also with other nearby communities, including El Cerrito.
Did you know, for example, that El Cerrito's first mayor, Philip Lee, worked for Standard Oil of California, which is what the company was called before it became Chevron?
The refinery and its parent company continue to have significant impacts beyond the Richmond border, including property taxes it pays that help support West Contra Costa schools, community concern about possible hazardous emissions, influence on international oil markets and a prominent role in fossil fuel-related issues.
The origin of the "Richmond Refinery" can be traced to 1901"when the Pacific Coast Oil Company purchased fifty acres of land on the Bay adjoining the Santa Fe slip at East Yard, later known as Point Richmond," according to the museum.
The first oil flowed into the refinery on July 3, 1902, the museum says.
The Tuesday opening of the exhibit, "Other Days, Other Ways: A Refinery Saga," is free and will take place from 2-4 p.m. The opening reception will include representatives from Chevron and the city of Richmond, as well as light refreshments and music.
The exhibit, includes three handwritten semi-annual reports from the refinery between 1902 and 1916 showing the facility’s first purchases and "its transformation from the Pacific Coast Oil Co. to Standard Oil of California," according to a museum description.
Also on display will be equipment from the old chemistry lab of the 1930s as well as photographs from the refinery and Standard Oil advertisements, according to the museum.
The exhibit's opening day, Aug. 7, is also the 107th anniversary of Richmond's incorporation.